JOHNSON JR. DRIVES SKOAL RACING CHEVY TO SECOND-ROUND EFFORT AT MAPLE GROVE RACEWAY MOHNTON, Pa. (Sept. 18, 2005) - Veteran NHRA driver Tommy Johnson Jr. raced his Don "the Snake" Prudhomme-owned Skoal RacingSM Chevy Funny Car to a...
JOHNSON JR. DRIVES SKOAL RACING CHEVY TO SECOND-ROUND EFFORT AT MAPLE GROVE RACEWAY
MOHNTON, Pa. (Sept. 18, 2005) - Veteran NHRA driver Tommy Johnson Jr. raced his Don "the Snake" Prudhomme-owned Skoal RacingSM Chevy Funny Car to a quarterfinal finish Sunday at Maple Grove Raceway during the 21st annual NHRA event in Read! ing, Pa.
The six-time NHRA winner used a starting-line advantage and a solid tune-up from crew chiefs Mike Green and Johnny West to power the Skoal Racing Monte Carlo to a run of 4.822 seconds at 319.29 to defeat Bob Gilbertson, who recorded a run of 4.989 at 284.87. It was the second straight event where the Chevy Monte Carlo drivers met in the first round of eliminations.
In round two, the Iowa native used a stout .038 of-a-second reaction time to race to the early lead over 13-time NHRA Funny Car champion John Force and a pass of 4.867 at 319.29, but it wasn't enough to hold off drag racing's all-time winningest driver, who drove his flopper to a pass of 4.813 at 319.45 to score the narrow victory and trip to the semifinals. Johnson had the best reaction time of the second round.
"If we'd have smoked the tires I would have been upset, but you can't be upset with leaving on the guy and just barely getting nipped at the end," Johnson said. "If the track was five feet shorter, we'd have won. We're still a strong race team. We just came up 11-thousandths (of-a-second) short. I'm optimistic heading into Dallas. The race car is running good; hopefully we can take advantage of that."
With four races remaining on the 2005 NHRA schedule, Johnson remains in sixth place in the POWERade Funny Car standings. The next NHRA POWERade Drag Racing event is the 20th annual O'Reilly Fall Nationals, Sept. 22-25, at Texas Motorplex in Ennis, Texas near Dallas.